Who produces meth in the DPRK and why is it better than coffee.
North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to North Korean refugees, a family that can allow itself to eat hominy twice a day is considered to be well-off. Sometimes North Koreans commit suicides not to die from starvation. One of the refugees, let’s call him “Mr. Kim”, recalls: “I saw one family, a couple with two kids, who committed suicide. Life was too hard, and they had nothing to sell in their house. They made rice porridge, and added rat poison. Rice is considered luxury in North Korea, so children eagerly ate it. Half an hour later they died. Then the parents followed them.”
Hard living conditions make North Koreans look for third earnings, illegal included. One of the ways to earn a living is drug production, methamphetamine, in particular. Till 1999 meth production was controlled by the government, and this drug was mainly exported abroad. After meth production was cut down, some enterprising people organized small labs, which had all the conditions for crystal meth production.
North Koreans’ name for meth is “oreum” (“ice”), “pingdu” or simply “aiseu”. Meth is often used as a painkiller in the DPRK. For the same reason in the country where the medicine is at quite low level marijuana is used. Marijuana can be bought almost everywhere in North Korea, although it’s not clear if it’s legalized or not. 1 gram of meth costs about 15$ there. 43-year-old Lee Sae Ra, who has escaped to China, claims that in North Korea “it’s polite to suggest your guests a sniff of meth” and adds that “it’s like drinking a cup of coffee when you’re sleepy. But “aiseu” is much better.”